A Couple of Recent DVDs that Fit the Scene
Just stopping by to mention a couple of flicks that fit the scene which have been issued on DVD as of recent date.
Girl on a Motorcycle (D: Jack Cardiff) has been released by Redemption here in The States, and if what I have in the collection by this legendary company is anything to go by, this should be a major treat with a great transfer. This was the 1968 film starring Marianne Faithfull that is a fine footnote in the world of Late 60’s sin-ema filled with plenty of solid Exploitation, thanks to Faithfull looking great in a black leather jump suit in a tale about a married woman going after another, more adventurous, guy (This was also known as Naked Under Leather) – that she was going out with Mick Jagger at the time was also added name value (Jagger’s 60’s film contribution at that time was in the classic Performance) while the film being based on a book, a big trend of the day, was also part of the charm. It was a fine bit of Grindhouse cinema posing as something more serious that showed her classic “Swinging 60’s” look in the type of film that could only have been made in that fast-paced era.
Girl on a Motorcycle was one of the many films that tried to show a more “Liberated” form of cinema that in reality was nothing more than good old Exploitation dressed up in a Mod outfit, and in retrospect it is that style which makes it very viewable in it’s own way as it almost achieves something serious as a bit of 60’s Euro-Drama, but with some cheesy special effects, all too obvious symbolism, and what seemed to be the regulation “Trippy” special effects of the day causing it to be of it’s time in a good way. The fact that it was one of the first films to receive the X rating in The States when the ratings were established is a nice trivial note, with an R cut released soon after. The Stateside video history of this brings back memories of finding the Monterey Video version in the big box during my first days of renting, although I sadly missed out on the Anchor Bay version back in the early days of DVD.
Faithfull, already with a number of fine singles released when she was being Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, Tony Calder, or Mike Lender with her version of the Jagger/Richards song “As Tears Go By” the best known, would make one last classic note in 60’s Music history with “Something Better,” her final single in the 60’s which featured a B-side that would point to her more interesting music in “Sister Morphine.” To promote the single, she made an appearance in The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus, but sadly the show had to wait a long time for an official release after years of bootlegs, but fans of the legendary singer should check it out for her performance of the song.
While I wait for the day that the DVD is added to my collection, I should give word on something I already bought – A Dark Sky release that’s a fine addition to the company’s already great line-up.
The She Beast (D: Michael Reeves) is one of the lesser films in the career of Barbara Steele, but in it’s restored view, it’s actually not a bad film – In fact it’s pretty under rated and should be checked out, even if it’s not essential. The real star of the show is Ian Ogilvy, and he’s in his first film here as the husband of a lady who gets possessed by the spirit of a witch after an accident that sees their car go into the lake. It’s all the standard Horror tale, indeed, but seen in it’s Widescreen and clear state, this provides some good time wasting filled with great cinematography and a few moments with Steele.
The DVD is with a classy commentary filled with memories and good fun. Yes, it’s good and worthy of all students of Multi-Country film production in the 60’s that were not connected to the majors as it touches on some facts about these productions.
One old “Pan and Scan” DVD will remain in my collection for a film that I still yet to have in a better transfer…it was paired with Amando de Ossorio’s Malenka, better known to Stateside viewers as Fangs of the Living Dead, and was Distributed through the same company, Europix Consolidated. Europix was the company that put together a triple bill for the Grindhouses in 1973 that was hyped with a memorable trailer featuring a guy shaking in a straight jacket and very brief clips of the three films. The two other titles in the trip were The Murder Clinic, which was Revenge of the Living Dead was re-titled while Mario Bava’s Kill Baby Kill was called Curse of the Living Dead…the show called Orgy of the Living Dead.
More links to some of my reviews later on.